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Monday, November 17, 2008

Yuvraj Singh slams second ton on the trot

Yuvraj Singh, declared fit to play after recovering from his sore back, struck his second successive century to rescue India from a shaky start and steer the hosts to an imposing total of 292 for nine in the second One-Day International against England here on Monday.

The left-handed batsman, whose blazing 138 not out in the series opener at Rajkot on Friday floored England -- they lost by a huge 158 runs -- had to play in a slightly different manner to the previous effort and still came out trumps while making 118.

Yuvraj struck two sixes and 15 fours and also cobbled a crucial century stand with in-form opener Gautam Gambhir, who slammed his second successive half century in the series when making 70 in 76 balls with six fours and a six, to rally the home team from a dismal 29 for three to 163.

Yuvraj, who recovered from his back problem that he suffered in the series opener during his match-winning effort, and Gambhir pulled India out of the rut with a stand of 134 in 126 balls after team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat.

Towards the end Yusuf Pathan, who failed at Rajkot, hammered an unbeaten 50 in only 29 balls by clobbering four sixes, including two in the last over bowled by Steve Harmison, and two fours to finish the innings on a high note.

The hosts lost the wickets of opener Virender Sehwag (1), Suresh Raina (4) and Rohit Sharma (3), all to the bowling of Stuart Broad, before the fourth wicket duo of Yuvraj and Gambhir steadied the ship. The duo came together when India lost their first three wickets within the first eight overs.

While Gambhir continued to show his good form since the series against Australia, Yuvraj had to play differently, mostly with nudges and tickles, from what he had done at Rajkot where he carted the bowlers with impunity.

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